Galectin-3 is a β-galactoside binding lectin with roles in diverse processes including proliferation, apoptosis, inflammation and fibrosis which are dependent on different domains of the molecule and subcellular distribution. Although galectin-3 is known to be upregulated in acute kidney injury, the relative importance of its different domains and functions are poorly understood in the underlying pathogenesis. Therefore we experimentally modulated galectin-3 in folic acid (FA)-induced acute kidney injury utilising modified citrus pectin (MCP), a derivative of pectin which can bind to the galectin-3 carbohydrate recognition domain thereby predominantly antagonising functions linked to this role. Mice were pre-treated with normal or 1% MCP-supplemented drinking water one week before FA injection. During the initial injury phase, all FA-treated mice lost weight whilst their kidneys enlarged secondary to the renal insult; these gross changes were significantly lessened in the MCP group but this was not associated with significant changes in galectin-3 expression. At a histological level, MCP clearly reduced renal cell proliferation but did not affect apoptosis. Later, during the recovery phase at two weeks, MCP-treated mice demonstrated reduced galectin-3 in association with decreased renal fibrosis, macrophages, pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and apoptosis. Other renal galectins, galectin-1 and -9, were unchanged. Our data indicates that MCP is protective in experimental nephropathy with modulation of early proliferation and later galectin-3 expression, apoptosis and fibrosis. This raises the possibility that MCP may be a novel strategy to reduce renal injury in the long term, perhaps via carbohydrate binding-related functions of galectin-3.